UK Retail Sales - Economic Data Preview

[B]UK Retail Sales[/B] are expected to shrink -0.4% in the year to May, the first decline since February. Receipts have trended lower since May of last year, with the forthcoming result extending falling firmly within the outlines of the overall trajectory. Although consumer confidence rose for a second consecutive time last month following a recovery in stock prices as well as signs of moderating turmoil in the housing market, rising unemployment is set to undermine retail activity going forward, trimming disposable incomes and weighing on spending for those already out of work and encouraging cautionary saving for those still holding on jobs. The latest labor-market data revealed the claimant count rose to 4.8%, the highest in over 11 years, despite a smaller-than-expected gain in jobless claims. Indeed, a survey of economists conducted by Bloomberg expects the jobless rate will average 8.2% this year and 10.2% in 2010, suggesting month-to-month volatility in claims figures is hardly reason enough to be optimistic about Britons’ job prospects in the foreseeable future.